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Did Your Newborn Suffer Cerebral
Palsy or Another Brain Injury Before
or During Labor and Delivery?

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Our Birth Brain Injury Resource Guide

the guide

Get a FREE guide of resources available throughout Ohio to children and families of children who were born with brain injuries.

Our guide can help you build a foundation of knowledge and tools that will help you help your child
now and in the future.

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Neuropsychological Assessment and Rehabilitation of BI - Post-Acute Phase Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation from brain injuries is often an ongoing process. Even after the initial stages of recovery, post-acute programs continue to work on improving physical, psychological, cognitive, and behavioral functioning.

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For adults, post-acute rehab takes hard work and discipline. One must work with staff to regain walking ability, range of motion, and the ability to independently perform daily tasks.

A 2013 study by Frontiers in Human Neuroscience examined the role of environmental enrichment in post-acute care. It found evidence that a lack of environmental stimuli may be associated with a cognitive and neural decline during post-acute care. The stimuli in one’s environment are important for behavioral and neural health overall; during recovery, the absence of stimulation can suppress neural pathways. Research published in Infant Behavioral Development covered research for infants suspected of having a brain injury and repetitive stimuli in their environment. It noted the potential for enhanced parent-infant interaction and cognitive and sensorimotor development. A reduction of stress on mothers was also a focus.

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The study found no substantial differences between study groups in all areas looked at, leading researchers to believe there are various other factors affecting the long-term outcome of infant brain injuries. The type of injury, timing, and treatment types are such factors, and stimulation provided by mothers, are believed to play a role as well. Post-acute treatment services can focus on various skills as a child develops. From an early age, they can concentrate on physical therapy, and progress to occupational therapies, behavior analysis and therapy, and speech-language pathology. Case management and life skills training may be included, but first, the efforts must center on the most basic of functions. The contact between an infant and its mother and family in addition to various sensory stimuli are important. Infants’ brains can recover from injury. Cells can grow, be repaired, and even reorganize, but the process has more impact on the recovery of adult brains. For example, cerebral palsy generally affects a child for life although physical therapy can have some positive impacts on muscle function. Neuroplasticity is a concept that applies to treating adult and infant brain injuries. It and other aspects of neurobiology have repercussions with how post-acute phase rehabilitation is carried out.